Casper is becoming known for pop-up shops, each of which is filled with playful and colorful treehouse structures where shoppers can try out mattresses. Just like Ikea where dads falling asleep on mattress away from their active shopper families, Casper has also provided a drowsing oasis to urban shoppers. The Dreamery by Casper, where shoppers can take a 45 min nap for $25, has extended the joy at their stores even further.
“We’re very much trying to destigmatize sleep and napping,” says Eleanor Morgan, SVP of experience at Casper. The experience to and from the nap was close to that of airport lounges. It was even more elaborated with a very calm and relaxed setting. She also noted- “The way of doing that is to create a delightful experience where people look forward to coming and sleeping. If everyone felt that way when they were going to bed every night, we’d all probably be getting more sleep.”
Recently, I stumbled upon with the Dreamery and got to experience what the $25 nap was like.
Finding of the store was rather accidental. It is located quietly at Mercer St., north of Houston street. Besides a small and modest signboard on the street, there is no obvious promotion. The dark tunnel at the entrance also amplifies its stealthy storefront. After going through the tunnel, which was painted with midnight blue and filled with soft glowing LED lights, you discover a lounge filled with bright warm lights.
The lounge is decorated with round and soft furniture and decor with extremely subtle pastel accents. What may catch your eye first is the the floor-to-ceiling illustration by Jonathan Calugi, which contributes to lend playfulness to the space, not to make it too calm and dull. On the other side of the illustration, there is a counter where you can reserve your nap spot. The nap is $25 including coffee and custom Sleepy Jones navy pajamas to wear. You may also notice some round structure vaguely seen through frosted glass, which hints to be a napping area.
There are 50 nap slots per day, but the schedule for each spot is staggered- so only 2 people are napping at the same time. This plan probably prevents large groups taking up multiple pods together. Once my spot was ready, I was escorted to the changing room behind the curtain next to the illustration wall. There, I was to change into their pajamas with skin care amenities to get ready for the nap.
Once I put my pajama on, I sat in the small waiting room. With some excitement, I was a bit nervous at the same time. I didn’t know whether I had to tell someone that I was ready. All instructions are full of ambiguity yet with good and small surprises. Shortly after, the door leading to the nap pods opened, and I was escorted to my nook. This is the moment when I saw these pods, or rather nooks, for the first time. The setting was better than what I was expecting. These circular structures that could be seen vaguely from outside were individual nooks. They are placed in a dark setting, not aligning and not facing to each other. I was imagining tinier pods similar to capsule hotels, so my expectation was exceeded in a good way. Although some people online seemed to complain about other’s noise, it was extremely quiet when I visited.
On my bed, there was a letter saying “Sweet Dreams,” with my name. It was an unexpected surprise since I had no idea what
It felt like a few moments later, when I was conscious again as the nook got brighter. The switch was set for the light to return after 45 min. The staff explained that they had “other measures”, in case sleepers weren’t awake with this mechanism, whatever that may be.
Due to lack of sleep from the night before, the 45 min mark probably hit the middle of my deep sleep cycle. My body felt numb and dizzy after a while, but it also meant that I was asleep very comfortably.
According to Casper, the $25 is just to cover the operation cost, and the space is mainly to promote their products and the experience around them. Neil Parikh, COO of Casper mentioned in an interview with TechCrunch that “the Dreamery is about making sleep and rest a part of our regular wellness routines — similar to how many people prioritize a workout class”.
I would agree that the experience is totally worth it. Because of the location, I cannot imagine using it regularly, but I would if it was close to my work. Neil also mentioned in the same interview that “the concept enables us to pilot new ways of bringing better sleep to more people and to more places — whether that’s here, the workplace, airports, or beyond.” I agree with him about how proper nap experiences can be well-integrated with different activities and programs. What I liked the most from this experience was how quiet and private the space felt. The operation cost may be the biggest hurdle for a similar experience to expand, but keeping it a private and exclusive experience like the one I had may be the harder challenge, depending on where the next location may be.
Nap York, the wellness lounge in New York City, also runs a subscription based nap service. There, a 30-minute nap once a week costs $35 a month. The Gold Premium membership comes with five naps a month for $250, up to 90 minutes each and per week. Based on the report by Business Insider, the setup is very close to the Capsule Hotels in Japan, which I anticipated for The Dreamery before experiencing it. Although the experience at Nap York seems to be much less refined comparing to that of Casper. Also, some of the subscription rules seems to be a little complex. Reasonable subscription pricing with convenience at the right locations with lots of offices around could be the right direction for the nap business.